13 May He Knows Their Names
“Life for Syria’s refugee women did not stop when they crossed the border;
rather, it was the beginning of a new, deeply traumatic experience
– filled with misery, anxiety, isolation and hardship.”
Antonio Guterres, Un High Commissioner for Refugees
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Many Syrian women, mostly moms, are today living as refugees without their husbands. The men are either fighting, or in prison, and others have been killed. Many do not know if their husbands are alive or dead. They now have full responsibility for the safety of – and daily provision for their children. Most of these women are strong but traumatized, without resources and vulnerable.
In the culture of Jesus’ day, and still today in this part of the world, a women’s identity is totally related to her husband. She is considered the property of her husband and of far less value. As refugees, they are regularly treated with disrespect, have no rights and are often targets of sexual/gender violence. Reports are rampant that many mothers are forced into survival sex to have food and to pay their rent.
In Genesis 16.13 and 21.17-19 we see that God saw Hagar, and heard the cry of this refugee woman and her child and even knew her name. He met her need to care for her son. God saw Hagar and knew her name – and assigned identity.
Then something else happened in the 1st century when Jesus came – that assigned value, dignity, respect and a calling for each woman. Jesus shocked and stood against the culture of his day as he modeled how women were to be treated by men. Jesus demonstrated through his friendship with Mary & Martha that the highest calling of women is to hear the word of God, obey it and live into the freedom and beauty of womanhood, as a valued part of society.
Genesis 16.13 (NLT)
Thereafter, Hagar referred to the Lord, who had spoken to her, as “the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have seen the One who sees me!” NLT
Genesis 21.17-19 (NASV)
God heard the lad crying; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him by the hand, for I will make a great nation of him.” Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the skin with water and gave the lad a drink.
1. When you came, Jesus, you changed the way women were valued and treated. You turned fixed ways of thinking about gender right-side up. Thank you! Will you place around refugee women, the aid workers and your followers that will treat them with kindness and respect like Jesus?
2. Lord we honor the Syrian mothers with our love and prayers for them during these days of limitless challenge. We ask, Father, that you make yourself known to each one that cries out to you in her desperation. Draw them close we pray.
3. We pray, Lord, that Syrian moms will find that you see them and know them personally by name, like Hagar. Open their hearts to receive you and trust you for every provision. We ask that you use this crisis to turn these women’s destiny and that of their children into the hope & freedom that your blood paid for.
Newsweek – July 12, 2014
For Syrian Women, The Battle Never Ends
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